Citizens’ Assembly to get crash course in finance

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Members will hear from experts ahead of presenting the Assembly’s first report in May. 

20th February 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Members of Scotland’s Citizens’ Assembly will be given a crash-course in finance this weekend before they present their first report in May.

The assembly has previously identified resourcing the country as a priority area for action when discussing the key challenges in building a sustainable Scotland.

Now, the members will devote their weekend to hear from finance and tax experts before discussing the subjects with their fellow members, identifying priorities to be considered for the final report.

Members will hear from Fraser McKinlay of Audit Scotland and Professor David Bell CBE from the University of Stirling, who will give an introduction to the nation’s finances covering where Scotland’s money comes from.

Taxation will be examined in closer detail with presentations from David Phillips of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Charlotte Barbour from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. They will talk about the different kinds of taxes, what we can learn from other countries and consider the importance of greater public understanding of the tax system.

Another session will investigate how different taxation options could help create na sustainable society.

Chef Brenda McKinney, 53, from Perth said she is looking forward to the sessions.  

“It’s funny to think I’m giving up my usual weekend of running around after my granddaughter to talk about tax, but I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

“I didn’t really have much idea what I was getting myself into when I said I would take part in the Citizens’ Assembly, but I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve learned so much about not just the complex subjects, but also the various issues around those subjects that have to be considered before decisions can be made.

“I have never felt particularly knowledgeable or engaged in politics or how Scotland is run, but the Citizens’ Assembly has changed that. It really has been an eye-opener and I hope we can help to spread that feeling of public engagement in the future of our country.”

Assembly convener Kate Wimpress said she knows the event will be another tough weekend for the members, but is confident they will continue to work together to tackle the complex issues head on.

She said: “This Citizens’ Assembly is doing politics differently. It is demonstrating that involving people from all walks of life in complex and challenging topics can produce tremendous insights and fresh perspectives. This stimulates wider debate and can work to deliver valuable and bold outcomes within the political sphere, and for the country as a whole.

“Assembly members have told us they find the weekends challenging, but they have praised the knowledge and input from the experts. I have no doubt the members’ continued commitment, enthusiasm and respect for each other will allow them to rise to the challenge again this weekend.”